Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fun and Not So Fun Stitches

Well here we all are, another calendar page ready to turn.   Can you believe it!  Where does the time go?  Work has kind of slowed to the normal hectic pace as no new interogatories arrived this week.   Time for a deep breathe and the completion of those pesky employee reviews I must do.   Well maybe I will start them next weekend.....

This week I made it a point to carve out stitching time.   It is not an option!  I am a much happier person if I stitch everyday, even if it is only 15 stitches.   I think I could have worse addictions, right?  

I finally got around to ordering the four charms - Celtic Knots - for my finished Love and Wisdom Sampler by Drawn Thread.   This piece has been done for a few months but I am never one to hurry.    I have a coupon for 50% off framing at Joanne's and thought I give them a try.  My framer has closed his Delaware shop and it would be about 3 to 4 hours round trip to get to him....which is not doable on a lunch hour.    Speaking of Joanne's I had to get a separating zipper to replace a broken one in my husband's "fuzzy man" jacket as he calls it and look what else I got! I am a big fan of the reusable store totes. I often embarrass my kids and friends with my insistance on using them but isn't this just the cutest? Of course since they put them at the checkout, one jumped into my cart. This will now be my standard craft shopping tote whether shopping or carrying a project to my daughter's.   Check out the handle that looks like a tape measure.   People are too too clever.

 The sun has been streaming in the windows and giving my plants a real boost.  I know it is something we have all longed for after the snowy and windy winter we have had so let the sunshine in.  I don't know how well my spider plant photos will show up but you wouldn't believe all the flowers on it. This silly spider plant made the move with us when we moved into our current home......29 years ago! This plant was a spindling little thing until about 10 years ago when I started hanging it outside all summer. It sure likes that mid-atlantic humidity I guess.

While checking out my spider plant, I took a shot of my orchids......

I have a flower coming.   First I wasn't fertilizing the orchids, then I think I was fertilizing them too much and hopefully I have gotten it to the right balance.   I'd better not get too confident until I actually see the flower.   I have it on good authority from a fellow orchid growing that the little stem sticking out like a "y" to the right is indeed a flower.


Now for stitchie stuff.....I am keeping up with the insane i-Challenge.   But I confess, I am spending more than one day on each now.  First, the Quaker Pin Keep from Williamsburg.   Had I realized the pattern puts the birds off centered, I would have calculated to have them centered.   It upsets my sense of order!   I guess I will get over it especially if that is the way it was stitched at the Ackworth School.   Who am I to argue?
 This one settles into the Not So Fun stitches. I am loving the colors and I like the Bent Creek pattern. Duh! I wouldn't be stitching it if it wasn't a fav of mine. I am not sure if it is the linen count or the floss or what but I feel like my stitches are 'sloppy'. Maybe I need to change needles? Bingo! Light just went on.....that's what I will do the next time around in the rotation.

Ha ha!  the close up doesn't necessarily show the messy stitches.

 And last on the cross stitch front, is the Friendship Tree. Again, not necessarily a fun stitch but that is because it requires really keeping track. Not like doing letters or a border that repeats itself. But the floss is to die for so it makes up for having to be diligent with the pattern.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finish #2 from the i-Challenge

I finished #4 in my rotation of the 15 projects in 2011.   I am not 100% sure how I will be finishing this but I believe it was have to do with some wool purchased at the quilt event in Lancaster PA next month.    There were not many instructions and I don't know if the wool I used for the pears was really for the leaves and the pears should have been out of the background fabric?
   Don't know but no matter.   I am guessing I will make this into some sort of decorator pillow.   It was fun to do some different stitches and it was a quick little project. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

3-day Weekends - Updated!

There needs to be a 3-day weekend each month to allow me (and maybe you too) to catch up and to take a deep breathe and to relax.   Today and tomorrow are bonus days to me.   I have NO PLANS!   Save for the normal doing of  laundry and cooking dinner.    I have managed to get my morning stitching in.  I am not stitching every day like I did the first two rounds of the i-Challenge.  This time I dedicated two  or three stitching days per project and put in two days on my puzzle purse pattern.   A bit of stitching accomplished for the day and I  am ready to attack some long over due home improvement project.   
Prairie Sampler - Puzzle Purse so far

This is the 'before'.   Probably no one notices or cares but it bugs  me everytime I go into the bathroom!
Crown molding was installed  XX months ago - far too embarrassed to actually put into print how many months....... so it has been bugging me that this project is one of the many on the unfinished list.  When I get overwhelmed with work then this is the list that hangs heavy on my shoulders.   I start to get angry about the extra hours at work and sub-consciously blame the fact that my to-do list is so long on the extra hours.   One really has  nothing to do with the other but with the simple fact the I totally over extend myself.   Not sure if it is the dormant control freak that lives within thinks I am the only one that can do the task..... but I today, I want to spend 2 to 3 hours and remove at least one item from my long list of household projects that are half finished.   If all goes well, I might even cross another off my list tomorrow....

There's a reason this is hanging in my craft room!  Everything was progressing along nicely with the caulking.   Now I am no caulk affecianado (sp??) but I gave it the college try.   I am a bit better at caulking than drywall taping and mudding.   No one HGTV needs to fear my skills is a big understatement.    So caulk gun and two tubes of the appropriate caulk and I am knocking this out quickly.   Oh no, I run out of caulk, no worries, remember I have a second tube or whatever they are called.    I am pulling the trigger and pulling the trigger on the caulk gun and why won't it come out?   I cut a new 45 degree tip, I stuck a nail in the tip in case it was clogged.  Nothing.   I pull - really hard on the trigger and then I see it.........I have blown the tip right off the end of the tube of caulk and the caulk gun is oozing with caulk.   And I was so close.    I only had about 3 feet left to caulk and I could have crossed this off the list.  Drat!    So it was decision time........change clothes, hop on the interstate, pay toll and cross the bridge into the next state - seriously - to get another tube of caulk or wait til Tuesday at lunch and visit Home Depot which is a half mile from my office?  (Jeopardy music was playing in my head).   Change clothes?   can't go in my painting clothes.   We all have that pair of sweats that we paint in that we were so proud we painted an entire room while wearing with nary a paint drop and then.......bending over you backed your butt into the fresh painted wall and now have a painted backside.....yeah, those pants!  

Just above the light on the left is how far I got.  I only need to make it to the corner.  Oh, it looks like the bathroom light fixture needs to be added to the home improvement to do list!

I elected to stay home and tackle other half completed home improvement projects!    I touched up the wainscoting in the bathroom (check) so once I do finished caulking, that room will be done.   Since the paint was out, I was able to touch up the risers on the stairs (check)  on my way to my craftroom to finish painting the trim in that room.   Also managed to get in the first coat on the new 6-panel entry door to the craftroom.  (first coat - check)  And when I put the brush up for the day, since I was in the sewing room already......well why not stitch a bit on my quilt?    OMG!  and I still have tomorrow off to do more!   Yeah!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

i-Challenge Round II Status

I have made it through all my projects a second round.   I am finding that I am now spending a couple of days on each rather than switching out every day.  This is especially true if I have too little time on the first day the piece comes back up in my rotation.   I think I am being more productive to stitch on the same piece for two or three days because I get my threads set, the particulars of the pattern in my brain and can make far more progress.  I am still working through my rotation and am generally pleased with my progress.   I even have a finish.  

I am really enjoying the diversity.   I believe it appeals to my inner ADD child.  As I see it, I am futher ahead on 15 projects that were in my to-do basket then I was 6 weeks ago and that is good.   Trying to guess which will be my second finish.
Just Nan's Needle Tweets - Daisy

Just Nan's Needle Tweet is a finished size of ...maybe 1 1/2 inches by 2 inches and I really moving slowly on this one.   It seems to come up in my rotation when I don't have a lot of stitchie time and it requires a lot of counting....which given my current work/free time schedule, it is not a relaxing stitch.  But I continue....

LHN - Chocolate Box

This one is fun and I seem to just sail through this one each time I get to it.   Quite alot accomplished with only 3 stitching days so far.

Jeannette Douglas's My Stitching Treasures

Love this flower!

This one is easy to see progress on and probably one of the projects that pushed  me to dedicate more than one day at a time to a project.   I decided to work on this until I completed each motif or square.   This has been favorite of mine for a long time and I am happy to be working on it.    Jeannette Douglas used the most aswesome colors and threads!

Oops! Sometimes they rotate and sometimes they don't!
Last but not least, Plum Berry Sampler from Bent Creek.  How appropriate, Project 1 from January 1 is my first completed. It's Bent Creek's Plum Berry Sampler. It was a quick stitch completed in only days of stitching. I am not sure if I will frame this or make it a into a pillow.

Tripe? oh cripe!!!

All our ingredients are ready and waiting for us to start
Does everyone but me know what  Tripe is?   Last weekend my daughter and I went to a Hearth Cooking Class as the George Read House in New Castle DE.   This was my third year and Heather's first year.   I enrolled her as a Christmas present.   (See previous and add this to the mix!)

Same pot we used for the soup.   Used a long
 poker to swing the arm out and bring the pot closer
It was a fun day and the food was great.   My pix are from last year as I didn't take my camera this time.   Anyway a quick rundown of the day ....  there are 12 in the class with two or three instructors.   We pair off and select which of the recipes we will be in charge of.   Heather and I selected the the Pepperpot Soup with Dumplings.   We proceed through the recipe with the occasional references to "tripe".   ....Cook tripe ahead of time; set aside tripe to cool......  This is a case of not knowing if a SmartPhone is a blessing or not.   Heather Googles Tripe on her phone and we are feigning barking when she tells me what tripe is.   Oh, it's a delicacy the internet says.  But  so are other things that I don't believe will ever pass my lips.  Tripe, I learn is the lining of a cow's stomach.   Yuck!   It was bad enough I had to dice the tripe meaning I had to touch it!   Our Pepperpot Soup also had dumplings and potatoes so eating around the tripe was tricky.   I am not usually a squemish eater but TRIPE!  Really? 
This is the Frut Suppa from last year so that is why it is sitting in the pot with snow to chill it.
We used the same tureen for our Pepperpot Soup.   I liked the tureen much better with the Frut than the Soup!

Absence makes the hearts grow fonder

Hi all!  been busy busy busy which is evidient by my lack of blogging.   A funny aside, a few people actually noticed I was absent and were curious.   I am ever amazed at the internet and how its tenacles reach the far corners of the world and my blog ends up on the laptop of a little stitcher sitting on her sofa all cozy with a cup of tea and a blanket reading about my spastic life.   I must remember to thank Al Gore for creating the internet.  LOL

So what's up with me......let me give you the brief recipe of my life as it exists currently:

Recipe for creating
  "Every Second Accounted For"
    First factor in lots of work
    Blend a Rate Case/Rate Increase
    Continue process  for 18 month
    Maintain all your other tasks
    Keep the Company's Annual Report work on schedule
    Add constant deadlines and a hyper boss who is mildly freaking
    Remove our Rates Analyst (who moved to South Carolina!!)
    Roll out of work after 10 hours each day
  At home -
    Repeat as above, maintain all your tasks in addition to extras
    Blend in a couple of weekends away (which I live for!!)
    Simmer several non-profit obligations
    Factor in requests to update non-profit's website
    Manage some random dr's/dentist appts.
    Attempt to stitch however briefly
    Reinforce yourself that you are not alone
    Gently squeeze in some Board mtgs and dinners
    Attempt to click your heels and get back to Kansas!

  Set aside and anticipate:
    Wkend in Lancaster at quilt show in March
    Add to datebook retreat info for Ocean City Md - May

  Optional adds:
     Include workouts at the gym
     Add Yoga class if desired
Results - 1 exhausted Robin, serve with wine or a Cosmopolitan, or just pair with chocolate

I admit, many a night I come and I am just totally brain dead and just sit like a turnip on the couch.   It's all good and I keep telling myself a.) I have a job; b.) I have my health; and c.) this won't last forever.
So, that explains my absence and my little stitchie progress........  little meaning there is some.   Stay tuned for more posts and pix of my i-Challenge status.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Awesome Designer

A friend, Theresa, from Delaware has launched her own blog.   Please check out her site, Heart's Exemplar, to see her stunning designs and work.  You won't be disappointed.